Although options like asphalt shingle and metal roofing are extremely popular, they’re not the only choices. If you’re looking into installing a new roof on your home or business, you’ve likely heard of slate roofs. Slate roofs aren’t as common as other materials, but they’re often spoken of as if they are the gold standard for roofing. So, what makes them so great, and if they really are so amazing, why aren’t they everywhere?
The main thing that sets slate roofs apart from others is their longevity. While a good metal roof can generally last you anywhere from 20 to 70 years, slate roofs can last upwards of 100 to 200 years when properly cared for. Clay and cement roofs are the only things that even come close to slate’s lifespan, and slate typically has the aesthetic edge over those two materials. However, they are also exceptionally heavy, which is one of the reasons they are less common than other, lighter options that are easier to handle and replace when necessary.
Slate roofs have a distinct appearance that tends to lend an air of natural elegance to a building. They have an attractive shine to them when viewed at certain angles, which is due to the high levels of mica present in the stone. Because slate shingles are hewn from natural stone, each piece will have slight variations along its edges. Depending on your preference, they can be cut into uniform-sized shingles to create a consistent look or random-width ones that give the roof a more natural feel.
The two main reasons slate roofs are not more common are the cost of installing them and the natural drawbacks of the slate itself. Because slate is a naturally brittle material, slate roofs are more prone to cracking, so a branch that might only dent some shingles could cause slate to crack. The natural variation also can make it difficult to find replacement shingles that fit in with the coloration of the existing ones.
Slate roofs should only be worked on by trained professionals who know how to safely maneuver on the smooth surface and handle the heavy shingles. We at Winters Roofing Inc. have plenty of experience working on slate roofs, so if you’re interested in installing one or need repairs for your current one, reach out to us for more information!